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A federal grand jury indicted Dr. Timothy Mulligan for the unlawful distribution of opioids, including fentanyl, outside the scope of professional practice and health care fraud.

According to the indictment, Mulligan, 67, of Santa Clara, Calif., is a licensed physician practicing in San Mateo County. A substantial part of Mulligan’s medical practice involved providing prescriptions for controlled substances – primarily opioids.

Mulligan issued an unusually high volume of prescriptions for potent opioids, including fentanyl. For example, according to a state government database, from about August 2014 through June 2018, Mulligan issued more than 9,000 prescriptions for opioids (totaling over 700,000 dosage units) to more than 250 patients.

Overall, Mulligan predominantly prescribed the strongest strength dosages when prescribing fentanyl, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. In certain instances, Mulligan issued opioid prescriptions in quantities that significantly exceeded generally accepted daily quantities for the drug.

The indictment states that because of the unusual pattern and volume of prescriptions issued by Mulligan and other warning signs, certain pharmacies declined to fill prescriptions issued by Mulligan or restricted the types of Mulligan’s prescriptions that they would fill.

As further alleged in the indictment, some individuals who obtained medically unnecessary prescriptions from Mulligan used private insurance or Medi-Cal to cover their office visits or pay for the drugs; others paid with cash. The insurance companies and Medi-Cal would not have paid for the office visits or paid out the pharmacy claims had they known the prescriptions were not medically necessary or were over-prescribed.

The indictment filed on February 27, 2020, charges Mulligan with three counts of distributing controlled substances outside the scope of professional practice, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 84l(a)(l) & 841(b)(l)(C); and two counts of health care fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1347.

If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $1,000,000 fine, and a life term of supervised release for each count of distributing controlled substances; and 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and a three-year term of supervised release for each count of health care fraud.

Anyone, including pharmacists and medical professionals, with information about prescriptions issued without a legitimate medical purpose is urged to contact the FBI Tip Line at (415) 553-7400.